Simple truths in our world
This afternoon our neighbor’s grandson, Bradley was outside exploring his yard with his little cousin. Bradley is about 8 years old. They were looking at animal tracks in the snow. When Bradley saw me he shouted, “Mr. Kozera, did you see a dog in our yard. We are tracking him.” I saw those tracks when I was out for a walk and said, “Bradley, I think those are deer tracks.” Bradley looked back down at the tracks. “Oh yeah. Thanks Mr. Kozera.” They were off on the trail of the deer. I thought, “How simple life was at eight years old.”
Bradley’s life is simple today but what we do as adults has a lot of impact on his future. This column is a continuation of what I wrote last week based on my individual experiences and as a registered professional engineer. The air, water and soil that Bradley is experiencing, is the cleanest of my entire life and we live among gas wells. I grew up in Pittsburgh. The air was nasty where I lived because of pollution from steel mills, coal power plants, chemical plants and motor vehicles. We swam in creeks orange from mine acid because we couldn’t afford a pass to the local pool. Today the air is clean. The creek has fish in it and ducks live there. Wildlife is flourishing. That is also true in West Virginia.
My mother was a big user of wind and solar energy. I have 5 brothers. Monday was wash day. We carried the wet clothes from the wringer washer (they were heavy) to the back yard where Mom hung them on clothes lines to let the sun and wind dry them. Sometimes it rained and we had to help take them off the lines quickly. Sometimes they would have coal ash on them, making Mom mad. One of the best days of Mom’s life was the day she got her natural gas dryer. No more carrying heavy clothes to the back yard and worrying about rain or coal ash. Now we have the anti- fossil fuel people trying to take us back to those “good old days”. They have no idea or they just don’t care.
Most of our steel, manufacturing and chemical jobs went away when our energy depleted making OPEC and Russia the world’s oil power. Oil prices went up and so did gasoline. Americans waited in gas lines during the Arab Oil embargo of the 1970s. We had the energy crisis of the early 2000s. Gasoline went to over $4 a gallon. Prices on everything went up because of fuel surcharges. My kids and many others had to leave West Virginia to find good jobs.
In less than 10 years, thanks to American technology, the USA is now the leading oil and gas producer in the world. Natural gas prices have fallen. Gasoline is in the mid $2 range. High wage jobs are coming back to this Region. Our air, water and soil are continuing to get cleaner. CO2 levels are down 14% in the USA since 2005. No other nation has had that kind of success. Our children and grandchildren now have a choice. They don’t have to leave the Region to find high wage jobs.
Bradley will never experience an energy crisis, Arab Oil embargo, $4 gasoline or the dirty environment I grew up in. Unless the anti-fossil fuel people have their way. Bradley won’t need to leave West Virginia to find a good job unless he wants to. People have hope again.
I have fond memories of my childhood growing up in Pittsburgh except for memories of the Cold War. I was Bradley’s age. The world was on the edge. The threat of nuclear war between Russia and the USA was real, especially during the Cuban Missile crisis. I had nightmares after the 11 PM news. We had drills in school about what to do in a nuclear attack. We practiced getting under our desks, closing our eyes and putting our hands over our heads, really. Hopefully Bradley will never need to experience that. Today we have the drug crisis. If we can maintain hope maybe we can keep some people off drugs.
The best way to keep Americans safe and free is with a strong military to deter an enemy. Our military is fueled by petroleum and needs petrochemicals for equipment and communications. Eliminate fossil fuels and we weaken our military and its deterrent. Our biggest threat isn’t Russia, China or even North Korea it is the internal threat of the anti- fossil fuel people who if successful will weaken our military and its deterrent.
Some people would say that climate change is the biggest threat to young Bradley’s future. Since 2005 USA CO2 emissions are down 14% based on US EAI numbers. Since 2005 the rest of the world’s CO2 is up 19%. I’m not the brightest bulb but this raises 3 questions;
If CO2 is really a problem, it requires a global solution. Destroying high wage jobs and increasing energy costs to the US people will NEVER solve the supposed climate change problem unless the rest of the world does something.
Why isn’t the rest of the world asking the USA what we are doing and how can they do the same thing? Is it possible that the US solution doesn’t fit the antis’ agenda?
Why isn’t the obvious solution being implemented? Sending more US natural gas to places like India, China and the developing world can have the same impact it has in the USA and lower CO2 emissions. Why aren’t we working closer with China and India on clean coal technology?
The best way to guarantee Bradley and other children a bright future is to make sure the public knows the truth about energy, petrochemicals and the importance of American oil and natural gas to our military, our economy and our environment. Our future is ahead of us. We can make it a bright future by what we do each day.
Greg Kozera firstname.lastname@example.org is a professional engineer who has over 40 years of experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and the author of four books and numerous published articles.